Agricultural science and farm-based technologies have been important forces behind the dramatic rise in agricultural production in the industrial world during the 20th century, as well as in large portions of the developing world (Stanton, 1998). In the United States, mechanisation, improved seeds and breeds, chemical inputs, and other scientifically inspired production technologies and techniques are often credited with productivity gains (Dimitri, Effland & Concklin, 2005). In past decades, agricultural science and technology have contributed to the productivist goals of maximising production while seeking the greatest efficiency from inputs. However, there have always been tensions and contradictions because the distribution of risks and benefits has not been even. Despite these insights, recent shifts in the political economy of agricultural science and technology indicate a trend that favours the private sector and global markets, a 241 Leland Glenna and Elizabeth P. Ransom move that tends to exacerbate some of those underlying and persistent tensions and contradictions. We explore these issues by examining how these political-economic shifts are affecting agricultural science and technology in industrialised and developing nations.

Document Type

Book Chapter

Publication Date


Publisher Statement

Copyright © 2016 Routledge. This book chapter first appeared in International Handbook of Rural Studies.

Please note that downloads of the book chapter are for private/personal use only.

Purchase online at Routledge.